Snowden Slights and his canoe-sized shotgun (PHOTOS)

Snowden Slights was in his 80s when author Sidney Harold chronicled his style of hunting– and his giant punt gun. (Photos: Sidney Harold via the Smith-Yorkshire Museum/York Museums Trust through Wiki)

Described as “The Last of the Yorkshire Wildfowlers” in a 1912 biography published just before his death, Slights liked to pack a punt gun.

A well-known British commercial hunter from the Yorkshire area, Slights was the subject of a now-rare volume on pre-regulation waterfowl hunting that captured him at work late in his career. While we aren’t endorsing the style of market hunting portrayed in the work — a practice that nearly exhausted game stocks and resulted in today’s strict conservation efforts — Slights was preserved for posterity along with his punt gun.

Punt guns, typically large-bore black powder muzzleloaders, were used to harvest resting flocks of waterfowl in bulk. They got their name from the fact the professional hunters of the day pushed them out across the ponds and marsh on flat bottom “punt” boats, hand-paddled them slowly to their target, and set the whole affair off in a ball of smoke and flame.

A giant shotgun meant to smoke groups of game birds at a time, Slights reportedly once used his punt gun to bag an amazing 44 ducks in one swing.

Note the low-profile. Add some grass and natural camouflage, and you are good to go

You can imagine the retriever would help out a good bit once the smoke cleared. Also, what bore is “apple?”

Over a two-decade career, he harvested some 5,355 birds, largely with his boat-borne outsized scattergun, according to author Sidney Harold.

A photo showing the punt gun being fired for the camera, with an almost time-warp effect

Slights died in 1913, aged 83. By the 1920s, punt guns were largely banned from hunting both in the UK and U.S., although they are very collectible and spark interest today due to their construction. After all, who doesn’t love an old gun that needs a boat to pack it around?

Competition shooter Robert “Bob” Gordon Vogel recently got behind a homemade punt gun that packs in 11-ounces of shot and 650-grains of FFG black powder, or about ten 12 gauge birdshot loads– and actually set the thing off.

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